- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has not been able to make it through the last two practices because of hamstring and quadriceps injuries, which puts his availability for Thursday’s preseason game against the San Diego Chargers in question.
McClain hurt his hamstring in Sunday’s practice before he was scheduled to see extensive action. He left Monday’s practice during individual drills with what owner and general manager Jerry Jones described as a "little sensation in his thigh."
Jones does not want McClain to push it, considering the linebacker has not played in a game since November 2012 and did not take part in a conditioning program before he was picked up by the Cowboys.
“Rolando not having played for a year, plus having not going through the offseason program, I was really surprised that we put him in basically competitive situations as early as we did,” Jones said after Monday’s practice. “That was OK. He wanted to. Our coaches felt he should. But at the same time we’ve got to remember that he’s got to do some good running and the kind of things that are happening to him … that’s just classic response by your muscles for not having played for a year or not having worked out in the spring. Not just ‘football ready’ but just a guy that hasn’t been out here running as much as the rest of the guys have. You could make a case if you wanted to that, 'Gosh, make the guy run for 10 days before you ever put the pads on.' We didn't. He's getting that running in football drills, which are better if you can do it without doing some damage. Where I’m going with that is, the types of things that we’re seeing from him is the kind of thing you'd see from someone that hasn't run competitively in competitive situations and you're seeing the way your muscles respond. Anybody’s would. But I feel good about him. A lot. And really feel good about how he’s competing. He’s one of our better linebackers."
McClain had started to take some first-team snaps at the middle linebacker spot with Justin Durant moving to weakside linebacker over Bruce Carter. With McClain unable to practice Durant has remained at middle linebacker and Carter at weakside linebacker with the first team.